A French drain in the basement will remove the water and save the foundation. So, the basement will remain dry and in good condition. However, the French drain can clog due to sediments, residues, and mud. It will damage the basement and foundation with wetness. Therefore, you must follow the French drain cleanout tips to unclog it.
You may use a lightweight pressure cleaning or heavy-duty draining snake to unclog the French Drain. While cleaning may be easy, you need to follow strict rules. Thus, we will discuss the dos and don’ts for cleaning the French drain system.
Why French Drain Gets Clogged?
A French drain is responsible for removing dampness from the basement and foundation. It keeps the basement dry. However, it may get clogged for the following reasons. So, you will see the French drain not draining fast enough, and water will accumulate on the basement floor to damage it.
- Mainly sediment development will reduce the French pipe diameter. Over the years, the drain slowly builds minerals and sediment to stop working.
- Silts will also stop the French drainage system. If you live in a hard water region, calcium and other minerals will quickly accumulate on the draining walls. So, water will drain slowly.
- Finally, tree roots and dirt can fill the footed French pipes. It can clog the draining system if it goes underneath the basement and reaches outdoors close to shrubs and trees.
When the basement French drain is clogged, the water will start backing up in the basement. Also, you will have water overflow. At this moment, you must clean the French drain fast and unclog it.
Tips On Basement French Drain Cleanout:
Did you see your French drain not draining? Before it damages your home’s foundation, let’s see how to clear it.
Step 1: Inspect the draining system
First, observe the French draining system closely. It will help you know where the clog has occurred. The majority of the draining system remains under the foundation and soil. It makes observing the system complex.
Hence, we suggest you run a video inspection of the plumbing system. It will help you identify the clog and solve it quickly. If the silts and sediments block the pipe, you can easily clean it. The problem starts if the tree roots are blocking the water drainage. You will need to remove the tree roots and fix the damaged pipes.
Step 2: Start cleaning the French drain
There are two main ways to clear clogged French drain systems. It depends on the blockage level. These steps include:
Method 1: Use pressure cleaning
Sometimes, draining pipes will have minimal silts and residues in them. You can clear it with a lightweight pressure cleaning technique. The tool includes a wand and an orifice. Also, you must apply a vacuum system to create a vacuum space inside the drain. Then, you may suddenly use high-pressure water to get rid of the clogs. Also, use the wand with a high-pressure nozzle to push away the residues.
- First, block the French pipe mouth with wood or plastic. As you keep it for one to two minutes, air won’t pass through the pipe. So, it creates a vacuum space inside the pipe.
- After that, remove the blocking item from the pipe’s mouth. Place the nozzle of the high-pressure wand in the pipe.
- Finally, run the water at high-pressure using the nozzle and blast out the water. You must use the water sprayer nozzle at the highest settings to blast out maximum silts and sediments.
You can move the wand differently to clear the clogs properly. Removing the blocks from the French pipe’s ending point, where plumbing snakes may not reach, is helpful.
Method 2: use hot water and baking soda
Another accessible way to clean French drain is by applying baking soda, vinegar, and hot water treatment. First, run hot water through the French draining. After that, pour vinegar and baking soda through the pipes and wait for a few minutes.
The vinegar and baking soda mixture will initiate a chemical reaction. So it will soften the residues. You may then use hot water again through the pipe. This method of clearing a French drain works best when the pipe has minimal drainage.
Method 3: Use a heavy-duty plumbing snake
You must use a plumbing snake if the draining has stopped due to garbage and silts. It’s 10 to 20 feet long and can quickly reach the pipe’s endpoint to collect the residues and clean them. The plumbing auger can collect smaller tree roots, gravel, small rocks, and compacted mud to remove stubborn clogs.
- Choose a plumbing snake with a powerful motor. It will have a powerful steel claw to break and catch anything inside the pipe.
- You can either buy the cleaning drill from the hardware store. Or, you can rent it from tool rental stores too.
- Run the cleaning tool in medium to high settings. As you move the drill through the French draining pipe, be careful not to hurt the walls. Or else it can break the pipe’s interior walls and require a costlier investment.
You will need 20 to 30 minutes to clear off the stubborn clogs. Also, ensure an electric outlet nearby to connect the plumbing snake motor and run it.
Step 3: Run a professional inspection
Sometimes, tree roots can damage the French draining system ultimately. So, something other than the DIY methods we mentioned here won’t work. At this moment, you must call a professional and ask him to take over the cleaning French drain system.
The cost will be around $400 to $750. It will depend on the damage level. If the pipes need replacement, you will need to spend heavily.
You may follow these methods for the basement French drain cleanout procedure. You can start cleaning the drain clogs on weekends. So you will have a fun time and enjoy unclogging the drain thoroughly.
Frequently Asked Questions:
- Do French drains need to be cleaned out?
It would help if you cleaned the French drains once annually. It will remove the silts, sediments, and residues from the pipe interior. Also, running an annual clean will stop stubborn blocks inside the pipe. So, you won’t need to run an expensive professional plumbing snake cleaning procedure.
- How much does it cost to clean a French drain?
If you choose our DIY methods, you can clean the French drain cheaply. You can spend less than $20 to clear out the drains. For professional cleaning, plumbers will charge $150 to $200. If the cleaning takes two to three hours, you can spend $500 to clean the system.
- How often do French drains have to be replaced?
French drains are long-lasting. So, they will serve you for years. Replacing them once in 8 to 10 years is enough. These drains will last easily for 12 to 15 years unless large tree roots damage the pipes.
Paul Newman is a blogger who writes about plumbing and home improvement. Over the past 20 years, I have worked as a plumber. My passion is to share my knowledge and experience with others to improve their homes.